Iraq

Extremists attack strategic city

Militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant launched an attack on the oil hub of Kirkuk, seizing a downtown building and attacking at least three points along the city's defensive perimeter. Iraqi Kurdish forces said they had beaten back the assault, but a well-known commander of the Kurdish Peshmerga, Brig. Gen. Sherko Shwani, was among at least seven Kurdish fighters reported killed in the fighting.

Egypt

Sinai attacks leave at least 26 dead

An Egyptian militant group linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility for attacks in the Sinai Peninsula that left at least 26 members of the security forces and civilians dead. The assault, the most deadly jihadist strike since 30 troops were killed in October, included a suicide bombing on a regional security headquarters.

China

Flight 370 families protest declaration

About 100 Chinese families of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 demanded that Malaysian officials retract their statement that all aboard died. Malaysia's government formally declared the flight an accident on Thursday and said all 239 people on board were presumed dead, paving the way for claims to begin.

Ohio

Year's scheduled executions postponed

Ohio rescheduled executions for seven death row inmates as it tries to find new lethal drugs, meaning no inmate will be put to death in the state in 2015. The announcement affects six executions this year, including one set for Feb. 11, and one previously scheduled for 2016 that was pushed farther back. The move, which was expected, follows a federal judge's previous order delaying executions while the state puts a new execution policy in place, the state said.

Washington, D.C.

Obama orders climate-change standards

President Obama issued an executive order directing federal agencies — as well as state and local governments using federal funds — to adopt stricter building and siting standards to reflect scientific projections that future flooding will be more frequent and intense due to climate change.

Census considers new classification

The federal government is considering allowing those of Middle Eastern and North African descent to identify themselves as such on the next 10-year Census, which could give Arab-Americans and other affected groups greater political clout and access to public funding. The U.S. Census Bureau will test the new Middle East-North Africa classification for possible inclusion on the 2020 Census if it gets enough positive feedback about the proposed change by Sunday.

Texas

Oswald casket awarded to his brother

A Texas judge ruled that the casket of Lee Harvey Oswald belongs to his brother, Robert. Judge Donald Cosby issued that conclusion almost two months after the 80-year-old Robert launched efforts to keep the casket out of the hands of a stranger who bought it at auction in 2010 for $87,468.

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